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Chapters 1-14 Selected Thoughts and Insights from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
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Chapters 1-14 Selected Thoughts and Insights from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD


Chapters 1-14 Selected Thoughts and Insights from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

Chapters 1-14 Selected Thoughts and Insights from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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  • 1. Copyright © 2011 by William Allan Kritsonis/All Rights Reserved Selected Thoughts and Insights CHAPTER 1 The Argument1.0 The purpose of the book is to sketch a view of the curriculum for general education by showing how the desirable scope, con- tent, and arrangement of studies may be derived from certain fundamental considerations about human nature and knowl- edge. It will be shown that the controlling idea of general edu- cation, imparting unity to the pattern of studies, emerges from a philosophy of humankind and ways of knowing.1.1 Perennial Threats to Meaning 1) spirit of criticism and skepticism 2) pervasive depersonalization and fragmentation of life 3) sheer mass of cultural products, especially knowledge 4) rapid rate of change 147
  • 2. 148 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS1.2 Six Fundamental Patterns of Meaning (Realms Of Meaning) 1) Symbolics 2) Empirics 3) Esthetics 4) Synnoetics 5) Ethics 6) Synoptics1.3 The Complete Person A complete person should be skilled in the use of speech, symbol, and gesture (symbolics), factually well-informed (em- pirics), capable of creating and appreciating objects of esthet- ic significance (esthetics), endowed with a rich and disciplined life in relation to self and others (synnoetics), able to make wise decisions and judge between right and wrong (ethics), and possessed of an integral outlook (synoptics).1.4 Principles For the Selection and Organization of Content 1) disciplined inquiry 2) rerepresentative items of the field 3) methods of inquiry 4) appeal to imagination1.5 Education Centers on the Idea of Meaning 1) inherently social 2) social factors 3) special needs and resources of society
  • 3. SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS 149 CHAPTER 2 Human Nature2.0 The Study Of Human Beings Physicists Natural scientists Chemists Social Scientists Biologists Artists Psychologists Biographers Sociologists Moralists Political Scientists Historians Anthropologists Historians Linguists People of Knowledge Geographers and many more . . .2.1 Four Dimensions of Meaning 1) experience and reflection 2) rule, logic, or principle 3) selective elaboration 4) expression2.2 Logical Classification of Meanings
  • 4. 150 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS CHAPTER 3 Meaninglessness and Modern Man..3.0 Meaninglessness in Various Phases of Cultural Life 1) ontological anxiety 14) animosity 2) anxiety resulting from guilt 15) suspicion 3) questions to which there 16) doubts are no answers 17) mechanization 4) feature of death 18) depersonalization of life 5) skepticism 19) impersonal organizations 6) aimlessness 20) mass anonymity 7) old certainties are gone 21) hyperabundance 8) suffering 22) distractions 9) ambiguity 23) cultural affluence 10)outpouring or symbols 24) unmanageable multiplicity 11) mass media 25) rapid changes 12) morbidity 26) congestion 13)destruction 27) critical spirit
  • 5. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 151 CHAPTER 4 The Search for Meaning4.0 Human Beings Act on Meanings 1) We create 2) We discover 3) We enjoy 4) We perceive 5) We act on meanings4.1 Fundamental Patterns of Meaning Enable The Educator to Make a Successful Attack on the Various Sources of Frustra- tion in Learning 1) fragmentation 2) surfeit of knowledge 3) transience of knowledge INTRODUCTION TO PART TWO The chapters in Part Two are intended to show that the variousfields of knowledge exhibit distinctive structures or patterns of mean-ing and to indicate the nature of these characteristic designs in thebasic disciplines of general education. MAIN QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED IN PART TWO1) What does it mean to know in this discipline?2) How is knowledge gained in this subject?3) How is knowledge validated?4) How does knowledge in this discipline differ from and agree with knowledge in other disciplines.
  • 6. 152 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS CHAPTER 5 Ordinary Language5.0 By the Term “Ordinary Language” is Meant the Forms of Dis- course Employed in Everyday Speech and Writing. There are many ordinary languages that represent var- iegated peoples of the world.5.1 Use The test of a person’s knowledge of a language is whether or not he can use it. The uses of ordinary language are largely practical.5.2 Communication The objective of using language is communication.5.3 Meaning Language behavior and the language community are on the outer face of language. The inner face is meaning.5.4 Symbols The meaning-content of language is expressed by symbols that comprise another of the outer faces of language.5.5 “Knowing a language” is not the same as “Knowing about lan- guage.” “Knowing a language” is practical. “Knowing about a language” is theoretical.5.6 The abstractness of language is the source of its powers to ex- press an infinite variety of experiences. To represent the real world in all its depth and complexity.
  • 7. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 153 CHAPTER 6 Mathematics6.0 Mathematical symbolisms are essentially theoretical.6.1 Many students and teachers of mathematics never really un- derstand the subject because they identify it with calculation for practical ends.6.2 Mathematical symbolisms occupy an independent, self-contained world of thought.6.3 Mathematical communities tend to be specialized and limited rather than inclusive.6.4 Mathematical languages are artificial dialects understood only by members of special communities of voluntary initiates.6.5 It is not enough to teach students of mathematics how to make calculations and demonstrations skillfully and automatically.6.6 The student of mathematics can be said to know mathematical- ly only if he understands and can articulate reasons for each assertion he makes.
  • 8. 154 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS CHAPTER 7 Nondiscursive Symbolic Forms7.0 Nondiscursive Symbolic Forms Nondiscursive symbolic forms are used in all the arts and for the expression of feelings, values, commitments, and insights in the domains of personal knowledge, metaphysics, and reli- gion.7.1 Nondiscursive symbolic forms appeal principally to the imagi- nation rather than to consecutive argument.7.2 In nondiscursive domains language is used to express personal subjectivity.7.3 In other words, discursive symbolic forms are outwardly orient- ed, nondiscursive symbolic forms are inwardly oriented.7.4 Principal Types of Nondiscursive Symbolic Forms 1) signals 2) bodily gestures 3) facial expressions 4) manners and customs 5) ritual 6) graphic or object-symbols 7) dreams 8) myths 9) The Arts
  • 9. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 155 CHAPTER 8 Physical Science8.0 Empirical meanings require ordinary language and mathematics for their expression.8.1 Science, or systematic empirical inquiry, is concerned with mat- ters of fact, not with symbolic conventions.8.2 Science is characterized by descriptions that are essentially abstract.8.3 Physical science provides descriptions of the world as experi- enced through the activity of physical measurement.8.4 By “physical measurement” is meant the quantitative assess- ment of material objects by reference to agreed upon stan- dards of mass, length, and time.8.5 The process of Physical Measurement 1) Measurements are capable of yielding universal agree- ment 2) the value of physical measurement is the opportunity it affords for mathematical formulation8.6 Essential Points to Remember 1) that principles, generalizations, and laws are not directly inferred from the data of observation 2) that observations do not test the truth or falsity of hy- potheses, but rather their scope and limitations8.7 The ultimate goal of science is theoretical understanding.8.8 There is no routine or foolproof system of hypothesis formula- tion. The construction of an hypothesis is essentially the work of the imagination.
  • 10. 156 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS CHAPTER 9 Biology9.0 Biology deals with those things that are alive.9.1 One of the most difficult problems in biology is the construction of a satisfactory definition of exactly what distinguishes the animate from the inanimate.9.2 Biological investigation is observation of the world of living things.9.3 The systematic study of living things naturally begins with the attempt to order and simplify the enormously variegated and confusing world of life by the use of descriptive classifications. This process of classification is known as “taxonomy.”9.4 In the search for meanings biologists use the method of natural history. The ruling idea in natural history is the concept of evolution.9.5 A living thing has a particular kind of organization constitut- ing it an organism.9.6 Meanings in biology are empirical, factual, descriptive, and ul- timately general and theoretical in orientation.
  • 11. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 157 CHAPTER 10 Psychology10.0 The subject matter of psychology is mind, or mental (psy- chic) aspects of living things.10.1 Some biologists (vitalists) hold that “life” is a mysterious pri- mal force that cannot be analyzed into anything else.10.2 Opponents of the vitalist position (mechanists) insist that life is nothing but certain complicated physiochemical reactions.10.3 An intermediate (organismic) view is that life is to be inter- preted as a hierarchy of interdependent open systems.10.4 Psychologists show a similar range of positions: 1) mind may be regarded as an inner psychic reality 2) mind may be considered as nothing but the activity of the brain 3) some psychologists see the organism as a psychological whole10.5 Psychology is difficult to define.10.6 Quality of empirical meanings depends on the investigator’s skill in experimental design.10.7 Some Common Types of Uses for Statistics 1) direct quantitative descriptions of groups or populations 2) correlation analysis 3) probabilities 4) experimental and control groups 5) errors in measurement10.8 Psychology is the study of the mind. The meanings obtained in psycholo- gy are empirical, descriptive and theoretical.
  • 12. 158 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS CHAPTER 11 Social Science11.1 Geography is a descriptive discipline concerned with facts about the earth as humankind’s habitation.11.1.1 The major organizing principle of geography is place rather than11.2 Social Science deals with the world of culture and society.11.3 Social Sciences have inner tensions and growing pains.11.4 Social Sciences concerned with different aspects of human life.11.5 Sociology 1) social behavior 2) interpretative understanding 3) everyday experience 4) social relationships 5) customs 6) values 7) institutions 8) power11.6 Economics The central fact around which all economic thought and action turns is that human beings have unlimited wants but only limited resources.
  • 13. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 159 CHAPTER 12 Music12.0 Esthetic meanings are gained by acquaintance and not by de- scription.12.1 Esthetic understanding is immediate.12.2 Esthetic understanding is attained in direct perception.12.3 Esthetic understanding is contained in particular presented objects.12.4 The subject matter of music consists of individual musical compositions.12.5 A person’s musical understanding is unnecessarily impover- ished if he limits himself to certain traditional, convention- al, and habitual musical patterns as being the only ones he considers authentic or admirable.12.6 Musical understanding in the final analysis is consummated in love.
  • 14. 160 SELECTED THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS CHAPTER 13 The Visual Arts13.0 Though it may be copied by repeating the original design or repre- sented in a variety of reproductions, the original of each work of art (except in graphic arts) is regarded as the one authentic in- stance of that work, all other copies or representations of it be- ing considered secondary or derivative.13.1 The proper subject matter of knowledge in the visual arts is the individual work.13.2 The successful person in any given field thinks well with the characteristic materials of that field.13.3 Mastery in the arts grows out of prolonged imaginative ex- perimentation.13.4 The Analysis of a Painting 1) line 7) depth 2) color 8) perspective 3) light 9) plane 4) shade 10) composition 5) volume 11) frame 6) mass13.5 The power of the esthetic work is to create delight in the ob- server.13.6 The artist’s problem is to use materials to express an es- thetic idea to achieve certain perceptual effects.13.7 Study the History of Art 1) Primitive Art 7) Creating an Illusion 2) Ancient Art 8) Perspective Art 3) Classical Art 9) sfumato 4) Roman Art 10) Imaginative art 5) Medieval Art 11) Revolutionary Art 6) Church Architecture 12) Modern Art
  • 15. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 161 CHAPTER 14 The Arts of Movement14.0 The arts of movement are the foundation for the learnings that take place under the broad heading of physical educa- tion. This also includes health, recreation, and physical edu- cation.14.1 The fundamental concept of the arts of movement is the organic unity of the person.14.2 In the arts of movement, meanings are said to be of the flesh and bone.14.3 Play 1) play is free 2) play is concerned with the make believe world 3) play has limited space and time 4) play has order 5) play lives on contest and tension 6) play proceeds according to rules 7) play activities tend to form enduring communities 8) play associations tend to be esoteric and secret14.4 The arts of movement are the source of esthetic meanings in which the inner life of persons is objectified through signifi- cant dynamic forms using the human body as the instrument.